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How to Avoid Weight Gain for Menopausal Women

A recent study conducted by nutrition company ZOE in collaboration with King’s College London, Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital produced some interesting findings. The results, as reported in the Daily Mail, have appeared in The Lancet medical journal. Simple food swaps could help both menopausal and pre-menopausal women prevent weight gain. Read on to find out how to avoid weight gain for menopausal women…

menopause side effects

How to Avoid Weight Gain for Menopausal Women

The researchers examined health data from 1,002 women. They were all of the same age, and were either pre-menopausal, going through the menopause or post-menopausal. It’s the world’s largest study of its kind.

Menopause Side Effects

Dr. Sarah Berry, is the senior author of the study, lead nutritional scientist at ZOE and associate professor in nutritional sciences at King’s College London. She said: “Our research shows that menopause is a time of major metabolic upheaval, which can have significant impact on long-term health.”

how to avoid weight gain for menopausal women

The study also reported that post-menopausal women were more likely to have greater fat on the stomach, and elevated levels of inflammation, cholesterol and blood pressure. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51, according to the NHS. If you’re going through early menopause due to PCOS, maybe you’d also like to read our dedicated page: “Everything you need to know for PCOS weight loss”.

What is the Menopause?

menopause side effects

Menopause is defined as the changes a woman goes through just before and after she stops her monthly periods. Because of the hormonal changes that happen, people often refer to the menopause as “going through the change”. At this time, the ovaries stop producing as much oestrogen, and no longer release an egg each month. As a result, a post-menopausal woman is unable to fall pregnant naturally.  

How to avoid weight gain for menopausal women

Menopausal Side Effects

Some women breeze through this time with few, if any, symptoms. However, around 60% experience symptoms resulting in behavioural changes, and as many as one in four will suffer severely. Common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness leading to discomfort during sex, disrupted sleep, decreased sex drive, problems with memory and concentration and mood swings. And, of course, let’s not forget unwanted weight gain!

menopause side effects

How to Avoid Weight Gain for Menopausal Women

The recent study reported that those who were post-menopausal experienced a bigger increase in blood sugar levels after eating a carbohydrate-rich meal compared to those who were pre-menopausal. As a result this also increased their risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Unwanted menopause side effects!

menopause side effects

Dr. Sarah Berry, Nutritional Scientist

Dr. Berry stated: “What our research shows is, that even in an aged-matched group, if you are post-menopausal, you have an unfavourable increase in blood sugar after consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal. It’s an effect due to menopause and the lower levels of the hormone oestrogen it causes.

Do you want or need bread

“Therefore, women may wish to be more mindful about the type of carbohydrates they are consuming. This could mean moving away from highly-refined carbohydrates and processed foods that contain them – so thinking carefully about bakery, some confectionery goods, and some staples such as bread, pasta and rice.

stay away from refined carbs to avoid menopausal weight gain

Not all Carbohydrates are Created Equally!

Carbohydrates are made up of three components; fibre, starch and sugar. But you are probably already aware that not all carbohydrates are created equally. For example, fibre and starch are both “complex carbs”, whereas sugar is a “simple carb”. And there’s a big difference between them! There’s more information about this topic on the Healthline website.

stay away from simple carbs to avoid unwanted weight gain for menopausal women

Complex, or Whole Carbs, are a Good Choice

Firstly, complex, or “whole” carbs, are found in unprocessed, or “whole” foods. They are full of essential nutrients and fibre. The long chain glucose molecules in whole carbs take time to digest, providing slow release energy. They also don’t cause a massive spike in our blood sugar, which is good news for menopausal women, of course!

menopausal women need whole carbs to avoid weight gain

The fibre in complex carbs doesn’t provide energy directly, but it contributes significantly to our friendly gut bacteria. This in turn is vital to maintaining good health. How to avoid weight gain for menopausal women. You may also like to read our blog post explaining the top 7 store cupboard ingredients to speed up your weight loss.

Some good examples of “whole carb” foods include vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds, quinoa and whole grains. Eating a variety of unprocessed, plant-based foods, such as berries, leafy greens, nuts and pulses.

how to avoid unwanted weight gain for menopausal women

How to Avoid Weight Gain for Menopausal Women

Also, fermented foods, such as unsweetened, full-fat Greek yoghurt, can promote a healthy gut microbiome. The gut microbiome affects aspects of health including the immune system and digestion. It contains millions of micro-organisms, such as bacteria and fungi.

menopause side effects

Simple, or Refined Carbs, are Bad News!

In contrast, however, simple, or “refined” carbs, are found in processed foods. These carbs contain short chain glucose molecules, which are digested very quickly to provide quick release energy. Unfortunately, this also causes huge spikes in our blood sugar, followed by a slump, which in turn triggers hunger and cravings.

how to avoid weight gain for menopausal women

And now, this new study has confirmed that the sugar spike is even worse for menopausal women!  Additionally, when foods are “refined”, most of the essential nutrients and natural fibre are destroyed in the process, which is why we often refer to them “empty calorie foods”.

How to Avoid Weight Gain for Menopausal Women

Most people know that foods such as white bread, pasta and pastries are packed with unhealthy, refined white flour. But simple carbs also come in the form of added sugar. Typical examples are fizzy drinks, fruit juice concentrates, breakfast cereals, sweets and chocolate, cakes and biscuits.

menopausal women need to stay away from sugar to avoid weight gain

Basically, if you read the list of ingredients and see any words ending in –ose, (such as glucose, fructose or sucrose, for example), these are all added sugars, and it’s best to avoid these products if possible. And especially so for women who are going through the menopause! But menopausal women want to avoid weight gain… You may also like to read our blog post called “How to lose weight when you’re older.”

stay away from sugar to avoid menopausal weight gain

Sugar, of course, is implicated in obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And unfortunately, women who have gone through menopause tend to consume more sugar than those who have not, often to compensate for poor sleep. You may also like to read our page all about how quality of sleep generally affects a person’s hormones and weight, regardless of whether they are a menopausal women, or not.

menopausal women don't sleep well

Rule of Thumb for Choosing Your Carbs

If you’re still unsure how to decipher between your carbs, here’s a very simple strategy you can use. This will help you when deciding whether something is potentially a healthy, whole carb, or an unhealthy, refined carb food. Basically, if you’re looking at something which is a single-ingredient food, then it’s probably a good, healthy choice. On the other hand, if it’s something pre-packaged, with a long list of ingredients, best give it a wide berth! You may also like to read our page that summarises Dr. Michael Mosley’s recent TV documentary: “Who Made Britain Fat?”

menopausal women need to avoid processed carbs

I’m Going Through This With You!

I’ve worked in the area of weight-loss therapy for nearly 20 years, and have always stayed slim and healthy myself. I thoroughly enjoy my food, and one of my favourite pastimes is spending a few hours in my kitchen preparing tasty meals for myself and my husband, Martin. I love eating healthily, and choose to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, preferring a low-carb, Mediterranean-style diet.

low carb healthy Mediterranean diet

Menopause Side Effects

Now I am in my mid-fifties, and although my weight has remained the same throughout my adult life, I have noticed significant changes in my body shape and body fat percentage, over the past couple of years. So, after reading the results of this new study, even I am going to be more careful and choosy about which sort, and how many, carbohydrates I’ll be consuming from now on. I know that this will not only help me maintain my current weight, but will also be hugely beneficial to my health and well-being in my later years.

how to avoid weight gain for menopausal women

How to Avoid Weight Gain for Menopausal Women

I’ve also just read a very interesting article in the Daily Telegraph, entitled “How to eat cake and lose weight – yes really”. It seems that there are various helpful strategies we can use to help prevent massive spikes in our blood sugar. This information is all in a new book called “Glucose Revolution”, by Biochemist, Jessie Inchauspé. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely adding it to my shopping list right now, and I’m really looking forward to reading it!

The Bottom Line

Dr Berry concluded that although the study did show some of the negative effects of the menopause it did provide some potential ways to combat them. “What this study shows is that we’re not a prisoner of the menopause – we can do something about it,” she said. It’s important for women to recognise that as we go through the hormonal changes during our menopause, our body can’t process carbohydrates as efficiently as when were younger. You may also like to read our blog post: “Does working from home make you obese?”

stay away from refined carbs to avoid menopausal weight gain

Choose your carbs wisely…

So, the easiest way to avoid any unwanted weight gain during the menopause years is to choose your carbs wisely. Choosing whole carbs over simple carbs helps to keep your blood sugar on an even keel, which also makes it easier to control your weight. But for those who feel they can’t live without refined cakes, biscuits, bread and pasta, combining them with healthy fat and protein will at least help to reduce the body’s glycaemic response. And, maybe we can all look forward to learning more helpful tips from Jessie Inchauspé and her book.

View our Weight Loss to Wellness page here

Check out our Non Surgical Weight Loss Page Here.

combining refined carbs with olive oil reduces blood sugar spikes
FAQ 1. Why do women gain weight during the menopause?

ANSWER: There are several reasons why women tend to gain weight as they reach the menopause stage of their life. Firstly, hormonal changes affect how the body metabolises the food we eat, and where we store any excess energy. According to Healthline website, some studies suggest that lower levels of oestrogen seem to be linked with an increase in the hunger hormone, grhelin. It also causes the body to store more fat in the abdominal area, as visceral fat.

However, apart from our hormones, other factors tend to contribute to women’s weight gain. These include general aging and losing lean muscle mass, lifestyle changes and being less active, as well as genetics.

One of the Side Effects of Menopause is Weight Gain

FAQ 2. Are there any other tips, apart from cutting carbs for menopausal women to avoid weight gain?

ANSWER: There are plenty of strategies you can put into practice to avoid unwanted weight gain. These include maintaining a good level of physical activity, and especially doing body weight exercises to build and strengthen lean muscle mass. Also, it’s important to manage stress levels and get plenty of good quality sleep. This helps to reduce cortisol and increases the body’s ability to burn.

FAQ 3. Does the “male menopause” exist?

ANSWER: Hormone changes are a natural part of the aging process. However, in women there is a rapid decline in hormone production during the menopause. In comparison, men’s testosterone levels gradually decrease very slowly over many years, after the age of 40. And most older men still have testosterone levels within the normal range.

It’s true that men can experience symptoms such as weight gain and excess fat around the abdomen, loss of muscle mass, mood swings, irritability and lower libido, as they age. However, according to Medical News Today, factors other than hormonal changes are just as likely to be the cause. These include lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, stress and lack of sleep.

The bottom line is there is not enough evidence for the “male menopause” to be a diagnosable medical condition.

Here are a few of our simple, but effective, weight-loss tips you can start putting into practice straight away….

Tip No. 1 – Only Eat When You’re Hungry!

This has to be our number one, golden rule, when it comes to achieving successful weight loss. In our experience, most overweight people eat for many different reasons, other than physical hunger. But, if you allow your emotions to control your eating habits, then it is unlikely that you will be able to control your weight as a result. So, before you reach for anything to eat, stop and ask yourself first if you physically NEED to eat, or you just WANT to…

top weight loss tips

Tip No. 2 – Stay Away From Sugar and Highly Processed Foods!

It’s a fact that sugar and highly processed foods have addictive properties! So much so, that many people find that once they start eating these foods, they literally can’t stop. And, of course, if you’re making such poor food choices, this in turn will make it almost impossible for you to lose weight. So, our advice is to choose healthy, unprocessed foods and limit the amount of sugar you consume. As a result, you will have far more control over how much you eat and also how much weight you can lose.

And now, it’s official that it’s even more important for menopausal women to limit their sugar intake, to avoid unwanted weight gain.

top weight loss tips

Tip No. 3 – Use a Smaller Plate!

You’ve probably heard this many times before, but it’s a fact that people who use larger plates tend to eat more food than those who eat from smaller plates. No doubt you know about the power of optical illusions. But are you aware of just how much more generous the same size portion of food appears, when presented on a smaller plate, instead of a larger one? Have a look at the image below. It’s known as the Delboeuf optical illusion. If you stick to our mantra, “always go for quality over quantity”, then you will definitely lose weight much more easily.

Delboeuf Optical Illusion

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Martin and Marion Shirran, the developers and joint Clinical Directors of My Weigh Less, appeared on both the Good Morning America and the This Morning Breakfast Show. Kay Lindley, photo below, lost over 105 pounds, and reversed her type 2 diabetes, following her treatment with the Shirrans. She also reversed her menopausal weight gain!

Kay reversed her Diabetes My Weigh Less

Menopausal Women Can Avoid Weight Gain

So go ahead, relax, and take a few minutes to daydream about what it would be like to be slim and healthy. If you were at your target weight? And then imagine if you never had to go on a diet again, or be afraid of food? What if you were able to enjoy every social event? And you also had an abundance of extra energy, and improved self-esteem?

Holly and Phil interviewed Martin and Marion Shirran

Welcome to the evidence-based My Weigh Less Master Class. A proven, psychology-focused, downloadable weight-loss treatment, that delivers permanent results. Sarah Hart, below, lost 140 pounds following her treatment. Follow this link to listen to a complimentary audio introduction of the course.

My Weigh Less

No Diets, Just Psychology

The My Weigh Less treatment is psychology-focused, built around the experience of treating over a thousand clients. The fully downloadable treatment has also been the subject of extensive real person trials. But, as with your considerations regarding any weight-loss approach, do take a look at the verified case studies, and their before and after photos on the My Weigh Less Site. And afterwards, if you require additional comfort, visit the Medical Endorsement page.

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The downloadable My Weigh Less course consists of twelve, one-hour weight loss sessions, with Martin and Marion. Together, we have accumulated in excess of 15,000 hours of 1:1 clinical treatment time. In addition to the twelve sessions, clients receive a number of videos, animated presentations, visual aids and hypnosis sessions.

Martin Shirran below was one of first trial candidates.

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The My Weigh Less Course is new and refreshing, incorporating the latest, science-based, behavioural change techniques. It’s also completely based on an approach that has changed the lives of over a thousand people. And now, you can also experience all the benefits, the changes in your life, and your thinking around food from the comfort of your own home. Martin, above, also went on to lose 84 pounds himself.

My Weigh Less

Permanent Weight Loss is the Goal

If you want to lose weight permanently, and have looked into different diets, and possibly even surgery, then take a step back, before you decide which approach to adopt. You don’t need to spend any money right now, but just take ten minutes to read the pages of the My Weigh Less website. After all, you have nothing to lose. There is also plenty of additional information on our GMB website.

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Registered Stakeholder in NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Marion Shirran, is proud to be a registered Stakeholder in NICE – The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. In addition, Marion is registered with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity. She also looks forward to being able to share her vast experience, and help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

The Downloadable Weight-Loss Solution.

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Martin and Marion Shirran are Directors of Oxford Therapeutics Limited, which owns the Intellectual Property rights of My Weigh Less product.

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You can download the complete My Weigh Less course, and start your weight-loss journey today.

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